Section 14 - Not Guilty: 24/01/20

Court date


 City Magistrates Court

Hearing date:


Bench (DJ or JPs)

 Magistrates Bench

Charged with:

 S14 on 20/04/19



Please outline key points in prosecution and defense cases.

The prosecution outlined the case. Defendant was arrested under S14 on 20/04/19 at Waterloo Bridge at 8.20pm.

Acting Inspector Johnson reviewed and extended the S14 and provided standard reasoning.  Cross examined by defence and asked to clarify the S 14 instructions. Johnson clarifies stay on the bridge and get arrested, leave the area or go to Marble arch to protest. Defence asked “if they went to some other place, Trafalgar Square or Hyde Park for instance, to protest would they be committing an offence?” She said yes they would be arrested. Defence also pressed Johnson about her decision on alternative place to protest: was the section 14 the best option; why didn’t she just put in a short time-limited S14 or obstruction notice, which would have cleared the bridge.  She continued to say that her decision seemed to her to be the best for public and protesters.

Arresting Officer PC Davies on the stand. Asserted that he approached the defendant ‘because he looked like he had a leadership position.  The defendant asked questions about the S14 order and asked to see the order which the PC refused.  When asked to leave the defendant walked a short distance and after about 10 seconds sat down, started talking to someone and was arrested. Cross examined by defense. Questioned about time between notice and arrest and the defendants actions after the notice was given. The officer reiterated his original testimony. Asked if he could have been crouching and not sitting, after a little prevarication the officer agreed that it could have been crouching but that he was certainly in breach of the order and not moving off the bridge.  Asked if the BWV had been shown to the defendant the officer replied that the BWV had been deleted.  Questioned further the officer said that he assumed that another officer had deleted it.  Defence then referred to the police instructions on arrest and procedure for the BWV, which stated that it was the arresting officer’s duty to download and retain the footage as a record. The officer prevaricated.

Defendant from witness box, cross examined by defence.  Gave name and professional history: PhD in climate emergency, author and lecturer in 3 universities. Co-founder of around 40 well being and environmental organisations. Now full time volunteer with XR. On the day was involved as a trainer and a non-arrestable. Was in process of leaving and picking up his possessions from when arrested. Cross examined by prosecution and reiterated that he was in the process of leaving.  Witness called by the defence.  18 yr old who did not know the defendant but had seen him previously giving a talk.  Was not with him on the day but noticed him when he was talking to the defendant [at time of arrest]. She said that she saw him walk away from the defendant and crouch down to pick up his possessions, collaborating the defendant’s own testimony.

Prosecution in summing up mainly on the validity of the S14 and assertion that he was not leaving the bridge but continuing to protest.

Defence in summing up made a number of points:

  • The S14 was inappropriate. A time restriction would have been more effective.
  • The order to go to Marble Arch was is effect being used to prevent further assemblies and under S14a, this is not the permissible.
  • That such a large group proceeding to Marble Arch would have immediately been in breach of the order once they moved off the bridge as it could be construed that they were protesting in a location other than Marble Arch, in which case it was a flawed order.

These points were not addressed in the Judges summing up.  She said that she found the S14 was lawful but she did not elaborate on the points put by the defence.

  • Finally, the defence outlined all the factors proving that the defendant was leaving and that stopping to collect his possessions was the reasonable thing to do and it had been proven that he was walking in the direction of his bike.

It was on this last point that the Magistrates judged the defendant not guilty.

Was defense evidence submitted in writing?



Did defense witness(s) give evidence in person? Were they cross-examined?

 Yes and the they were cross examined

What was the verdict?

 Not Guilty

What was the sentence?


What costs were awarded?

 The defendant was allowed to submit a claim for his travel and defense costs.

Please add anything else relevant.